A late bloomer discovers love and its repercussions in a small Southern town. Mary Faith Rapple is a bright high school senior and National Merit Scholar. She teaches a GED night class, tends to her widower father Jesse's needs and keeps to herself. When she meets Michael, a loner who recently moved to Due East, she feels a sense of belonging for the first time in her life. Soon after Michael is killed in a motorcycle accident, Mary Faith discovers that she is pregnant. When she refuses to tell her father who has "done this to her," he assumes that it is Steven Dugan, a teacher at Mary Faith's school. He attempts to confront Steven, but instead meets his mom Nell and a romance quickly ensues. Mary Faith's Aunt Lizann and her rich husband Zack decide that the problem can be taken care of with a trip to Atlanta. But Mary Faith has other ideas. Becky Purdue, a troubled local woman, rediscovers her own strength and becomes a source of comfort and support for Mary Faith.